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post #21 of 62
I completely understand what you are saying and your feelings are just as valid as hers...but you are the adult so at this point you need to care more for her feelings than you can expect her to care for yours. It might help to consider the things in the house your stepchildrens things and the decorating to be their decorating in order for you to be able to organize your feelings better on this. People redecorate all the time so I wouldn't expect any house to be frozen in time but you might need to consider that while your own children might have no opinion about the way the house is decorated your stepchildren may have a big one. I would try to involve EVERYONE in making the house a home that is inclusive. You may have a right to change it up and redecorate as you please but that may not set the stage for a good long term outcome.

Just a note...my mother may have helped ME with stuff for the house but I considered it MY house and when my SM came in and remade things in her taste my mother wasn't the one I was concerned about I was the one who felt disrespected and pushed aside. My father took her side for the next 6 years and now I have not seen him in 11.
post #22 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer View Post
I moved into a house that was totally decorated and furnished by another woman. ...It's like the house is a shrine to a family that no longer exists and even though it's MY house now (I'm on the deed, I pay the mortgage), I have absolutely no latitude to do with it what I wish.
These are things you need to talk with your dh about, and -- though I'm less and less a fan of therapists -- I think a family counselor/mediator would be a good idea in here, too.

Part of the problem is that you did move into this house, and my guess is that there was no discussion ahead of time about how you were going to make it the new family's house rather than a shrine. Part of it's that to your DSC, there's no reason why it shouldn't be a shrine and an important part of how they hold their world together -- that bit of constancy in their home. Yes, they see their mother. They've still lost their "real" family, and they were old enough at the time to remember how things were before. A year is not that long when you're a kid losing your family. I don't think it's realistic to expect them to just adjust to "the family that's there now".

So where do you come in? Do you have a room in the house? Is anything there yours? If not, why not?
post #23 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
I completely understand what you are saying and your feelings are just as valid as hers...but you are the adult so at this point you need to care more for her feelings than you can expect her to care for yours. It might help to consider the things in the house your stepchildrens things and the decorating to be their decorating in order for you to be able to organize your feelings better on this. People redecorate all the time so I wouldn't expect any house to be frozen in time but you might need to consider that while your own children might have no opinion about the way the house is decorated your stepchildren may have a big one. I would try to involve EVERYONE in making the house a home that is inclusive. You may have a right to change it up and redecorate as you please but that may not set the stage for a good long term outcome.

Just a note...my mother may have helped ME with stuff for the house but I considered it MY house and when my SM came in and remade things in her taste my mother wasn't the one I was concerned about I was the one who felt disrespected and pushed aside. My father took her side for the next 6 years and now I have not seen him in 11.
I always take my children's and step-children's feelings into consideration before my own. My venting was just that; an expression of the frustration that comes from sometimes losing oneself in doing what's best for the family as a whole. I was not, in any way, suggesting that I was just going to start doing my own thing without input from the kids.

We do have family meetings and we do discuss the kinds of things you mention above. DH and I have been working very hard to include everyone in the decisions that involve making the house "our home," but the fact of the matter is, whenever one of those decisions means that something is going to be different from how it was before I moved in, I encounter a lot of resistence from my step-kids. And usually, I just swallow it and respect that they're still adjusting and try not to make waves. If it was just me, it would be fine - I could just resign myself to the reality that for the next 10 years, I'm living in a house that I can't make my own. But some of the changes DH and I would like to make are so that my bio-kids feel more at home, too. Just as it's not necessarily fair for me to be changing things the XW did before I came into the picture, it's equally not fair for my bio-kids to have to endure living in a home that they can never feel is theirs. The harsh truth is, it's not just the DSK's house anymore. And as much as I love them, they're still running the show. But when push comes to shove, we often end up deferring to the DSK's feelings about these issues and as a result, the house really is sort of frozen in time.
post #24 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer View Post

BUT, since this is a safe space, if I may regress into a little bit of selfishness for a minute...
Just FYI, MDC is not really "safe space".

Gosh it sounds challenging. Like you both have such competing interests in the house.

I'm sure she can sense some of your tensions as well. I would be looking for a win win. Does she like to decorate? Can you involve her in ideas? Maybe if she got to do some cool stuff to her room it would help.

Have you smudged the house? Smudging and decluttering could help clear the energy some.

In general, I'm not a big fan of mother sacrifice. Not as a standard way of life...it's not sustainable. I would identify your needs and have a heart to heart with your partner. Look for creative ways to meet them.
post #25 of 62
*prepares to be scourned...*

I totally understand respecting children's feelings and it's a tough adjustment for everyone... but it seems to me that HER children's feelings are being dismissed simply because it used to be her step chidren's house with their Mother. What about her children's feeling that after a YEAR it still doesn't feel like home?

I'm sorry but a year is plenty of time to be tip-toing around... They are a FAMILY... and they should all have every right to feel comfortable in their own house. I'm not saying the stepkids shouldn't have a say in how it gets decorated.... but everyone should have an equal say as they are all living there now and have been for plenty long enough.

mild_adventurer and her kids have just as much right to feel comfortable and have their feelings validated.
post #26 of 62
:

I know not everyone can do this but we moved into a new house when we combined households. It was hard on everyone but we felt we had to have a new, nuetral space to start out in.
post #27 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer View Post

We do have family meetings and we do discuss the kinds of things you mention above. DH and I have been working very hard to include everyone in the decisions that involve making the house "our home," but the fact of the matter is, whenever one of those decisions means that something is going to be different from how it was before I moved in, I encounter a lot of resistence from my step-kids. And usually, I just swallow it and respect that they're still adjusting and try not to make waves. If it was just me, it would be fine - I could just resign myself to the reality that for the next 10 years, I'm living in a house that I can't make my own. But some of the changes DH and I would like to make are so that my bio-kids feel more at home, too. Just as it's not necessarily fair for me to be changing things the XW did before I came into the picture, it's equally not fair for my bio-kids to have to endure living in a home that they can never feel is theirs. The harsh truth is, it's not just the DSK's house anymore. And as much as I love them, they're still running the show. But when push comes to shove, we often end up deferring to the DSK's feelings about these issues and as a result, the house really is sort of frozen in time.
Just to give you a viewpoint from the other perspective... The home my ex lives in is not one we shared. However, our children helped him pick the house out, helped him decorate it, helped him make it their home together. Now, granted, they spent a limited amount of time there. However, they still had "their" space at Dad's.

Until he remarried a woman with two kids. They both accepted having to share the rooms that were once their own, decorated as they chose. They were both willing to accept those rooms being redecorated to reflect their new ssib's tastes. What got hard to swallow was being told that they were not allowed to express their own tastes or preferences in those rooms as "it wouldn't fit with the decor".

Then there was the rest of the house. Which was remade to SMom's taste. Our daughter is artistic, and she'd often draw or paint something for her Dad. None of those pieces were allowed to be displayed in the house (frankly, by that point, neither of our kids considered it in any way their home).

End result? Both of the kids resent their smon/sibs and really aren't interested in spending time there. Dad apparently isn't too interested in having them spend time there.

There really needs to be a middle ground. I know our two would have been okay with that. But being as they only saw their Dad periodically, it hurt them a lot to have their existence pretty well erased from his home.
post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
mild_adventurer and her kids have just as much right to feel comfortable and have their feelings validated.
post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer View Post
I moved into a house that was totally decorated and furnished by another woman. My children and I have lived there for a year and it still doesn't feel like my home. Even my kids have said, from time-to-time that they feel like they're still "just visiting." They don't feel like they have the right to "get comfortable" there. I know it sounds harsh and unfeeling, but I'm frustrated that I can't make any changes without causing this huge disruption for my step-kids. Not only can I not afford to buy new living room furniture (let alone a brand new house), but if all of a sudden the couch that their mother picked out vanished, my DSC would be devestated. It's like the house is a shrine to a family that no longer exists and even though it's MY house now (I'm on the deed, I pay the mortgage), I have absolutely no latitude to do with it what I wish. I'm not allowed to make it my own. And frankly, I don't really want to have a heart-to-heart with my DSD everytime I need to move a pot or measuring cup to a new cabinet. My heart just SUNK when I read that you were so angry over new curtains and a slipcover (which don't seem like huge changes to me). Do I really risk my step-children hating me if I dare to change something their mother did? The thought of that is paralyzing!
...at what point do my feelings get to matter again? I'm sick to death of the daily reminders (couch, coffee table, art, photos, rugs, bookcases, etc) that my DH used to live here with his XW. At what point do my opinions about things are in MY OWN HOUSE get to matter again? At what point to I get to say, "Honey, I know it must be very hard for you to have things change around the house, but it's time for the house to reflect the people who live here now?" Their mother is not dead. They see her regularly. It's not like they need the couch she picked out to be in MY living room to continue to feel connected to her.
I can certainly see why you are so frustrated. Would it be possible to make re-decorating a special project between you and DSD or maybe the whole family? Perhaps it would be easier to accept if she had some say in the way the home is changing? Then she might not feel so much like it is you taking over HER house, and more like the FAMILY house is evolving along with the family?

I also want to add that my dad, my 3 brothers and I all moved into my dad's fiance's house when I was about 12, and there was some MAJOR conflict between me and her. Most of it was from my end; I had had a LOT of responsibility as the oldest in our single-parent family and suddenly felt like I was being treated like a five-year-old, even though now, looking back, I can see it was all very age-appropriate. On the other hand, I feel like she could have been a little more patient and worked WITH me to help me feel more comfortable.

From what you’ve posted, you seem to be doing a great job of trying to balance everyone’s needs and feelings (although yours have been on the back-burner awhile). I think, after a year, it is appropriate to change the décor so it is more “home” for everyone in the family…not that you won’t hit some resistance still, but I think (from your previous posts) that you will handle it gently, while getting input from everyone and keeping the ALL the children’s feelings foremost in your mind.

Good luck mama!
post #30 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by KBecks View Post
I'm really surprised by everyone who is saying to have the 11 year old fold her own shirts. Not that that's a bad thing for her to learn, but on the other hand, if my DH said he wanted his shirts folded a different way, I'd do it for him because I love him and want him to be happy.
Our house is a do-acracy. Meaning, the person who is DOing the work gets to decide how it will be done. If DH wanted me to fold shirts or wash dishes or sweep the floor a certain way I'd tell him where to stick it. Nicely, of course. It would never occur to him to tell me what to do anyway.

mild_adventurer, I personally would not have moved into that house. Is moving a possibility? That way everybody would be on more equal footing and there wouldn't be the same emotional attachments to how things used to be.
post #31 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by ma_vie_en_rose View Post
Sorry, I have actually done the same thing to my DH. He did not like how I pressed his shirts, so I leave them for him to do. Nothing to argue about that way.

I don't tolerate getting attitude from people. My DSD is very respectful of me because that is my expectation. She also expects to be respected by me in return. I don't think asking her to fold her own clothes if she doesn't like it is disrespectful in any way either. Reacting in that manner does not engage her behavior, but it sends a clear message.I always say not to complain about things that you aren't willing to do yourself.
You know there are times when I have asked DH to do things himself too, or just let him know that our priorities are different and if he wants something a partiuclar way, it's up to him.

At the same time, we are a team and if he is feeling stressed, I might try to do a little more for him just because it's nice.

So I don't think it's wrong for the SD to fold her own shirts, but I do think that a lot of it has to do with how it's presented -- if it comes across as hostile, or if its just a calm suggestion. KWIM? Tone is extremely important and I think it is up to the adult to set the example of a kind and neutral tone, because if the adult engages in hostility, it's open season.

I don't think the OP has been hostile, but I fear hostility and bad attitudes especially reading some responses that are suggesting a power game and my way or the highway kind of attitude. I really, really believe in families as teams that need to work together, where ever member is important.
post #32 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by KBecks View Post
I'm really surprised by everyone who is saying to have the 11 year old fold her own shirts. Not that that's a bad thing for her to learn, but on the other hand, if my DH said he wanted his shirts folded a different way, I'd do it for him because I love him and want him to be happy. It's not like it's that much different work.

Now of course, the problem is that the 11 year old is being dramatic about it, and she's expressing her frustrations. But, I have empathy for her because this transition time has got to be stressful. Sure, it's not nice that she's being negative, but I think it's part of being an adult to show grace and compassion rather than rejecting or punishing. This is a new situation, and the goal is for everyone to feel comfortable and happy together. She may need some support to get there.
Why shouldn't she fold her own clothes if she likes them a certain way? By that age I was completely doing my own laundry. DH does not like the way I fold shirts (he doesn't like the crease either) so he folds them HIMSELF, I don't like the way he fold towels so I do them MYSELF. It does not mean I love him any less because I am not willing to cater to his every whim!

Speaking as a SD sometimes it really SUCKS. I know being a stepparent isn't easy but neither is being a step-kid. OP it sounds to me like you are doing a good job and your SD is having a little trouble adjusting (that and she is 11). Some things you should ignore (like the shower curtain, I have to close ours all the time but it takes like 2 seconds) with the cloths let her fold them herself and with stuff like the kitchen a good response might be "Well how about you pick a spot for X and then you will always know where to find it" as for the soup you can either ignore it or offer "would you like to help me make it next time? Then it will be just the way you like it" or question directly (without hostility) "Oh, what is it that you like better about the canned soup?"

If this is the worst she is dishing out you could also go with the "convenient deafness". Whatever you do DON'T take the bait!
post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer View Post
I hear and agree with everything you're saying. And of course it makes sense that DSD is feeling a bit invaded and displaced and I certainly don't want to do anything to make that worse (I want to make it better!). I love both of my step-children very much and always have their best interests at heart.

BUT, since this is a safe space, if I may regress into a little bit of selfishness for a minute...

I moved into a house that was totally decorated and furnished by another woman. My children and I have lived there for a year and it still doesn't feel like my home. Even my kids have said, from time-to-time that they feel like they're still "just visiting." They don't feel like they have the right to "get comfortable" there. I know it sounds harsh and unfeeling, but I'm frustrated that I can't make any changes without causing this huge disruption for my step-kids. Not only can I not afford to buy new living room furniture (let alone a brand new house), but if all of a sudden the couch that their mother picked out vanished, my DSC would be devestated. It's like the house is a shrine to a family that no longer exists and even though it's MY house now (I'm on the deed, I pay the mortgage), I have absolutely no latitude to do with it what I wish. I'm not allowed to make it my own. And frankly, I don't really want to have a heart-to-heart with my DSD everytime I need to move a pot or measuring cup to a new cabinet. My heart just SUNK when I read that you were so angry over new curtains and a slipcover (which don't seem like huge changes to me). Do I really risk my step-children hating me if I dare to change something their mother did? The thought of that is paralyzing! When am I going to be allowed to

I am an EXTREMELY conscientious mother/step-mother. I'm very careful to involve the kids in every decision/conversation where their input is appropriate. I'm very conscious of their feelings around the whole blended-family thing. I'm extraordinarily respectful of their feelings and opinions and anger. The kids are always, always, always put first.

That said, at what point do my feelings get to matter again? I'm sick to death of the daily reminders (couch, coffee table, art, photos, rugs, bookcases, etc) that my DH used to live here with his XW. At what point do my opinions about things are in MY OWN HOUSE get to matter again? At what point to I get to say, "Honey, I know it must be very hard for you to have things change around the house, but it's time for the house to reflect the people who live here now?" Their mother is not dead. They see her regularly. It's not like they need the couch she picked out to be in MY living room to continue to feel connected to her.

Okay, that was some serious vent. Thanks for letting me get that out. Sometimes the whole mother-sacrifice thing gets to be a bit much to keep inside.

Oh, thanks for sharing that! I think its interesting and see, this is bigger than just folding shirts or chicken soup, now you've got to the core issue of having the combined home be for ALL the family.

I remember my DH having some of his old girlfriend's things and I completely was obsessed over getting rid of some of them. Some other things, it took me years, but I *claimed* them. They are not hers, they are not his, they are mine and I can enjoy them and we have been together long enough that they are mine and I don't think about the old life they lived, because I'm living in the present, not the past.

How about coming up with a game plan for what things you might like to change, things that are realistic and affordable, etc. and then first talk to your DP about it?

I agree it's not fair to you that you feel like you can't change anything... change happens. But, knowing that change can stress out your pre-teen SD, you and your DH may need to prepare SD and help her through it a little. Like, give her some advance notice a couple weeks beforehand, and maybe talk to her about anything that's particularly special to her and respect those things, but let her know that other things may get adjusted just because we want to try things out.

Another thing that would be good for DH to talk to your SD about is that change is OK (and this is a very important life lesson -- adaptability -- people deal with this in the workforce all the time.) And that things can get moved, etc. etc. but the important things and people in her life are still there for her. He's there for her. Her mom is there for her, etc. etc. Maybe she has other things that she's struggling with and some of the objects are symbolic for her too. How are things with her mom?

I always have a hard time with change, even when I'm the person that makes it sometimes! I'll buy something new and then really stress over whether I hate the new thing or if it's OK. Then I settle down after a few weeks. I am much better now but still once in a while I get fixated on details, and that's part of my personality.

I now kind of enjoy re-arranging our furniture now and then when we clean and for different seasons, etc. etc. Maybe you can enlist SD's help and comments etc. etc.

It sounds like you are sensitive to her feelings, etc. I think you should work on this and try out some things and gradually work toward more balance in this because you sound like you really need this. And yes, your needs are important too. It may take a little extra work and adjustment and patience, al that. But you can do it.
post #34 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthMamaToBe View Post
Speaking as a SD sometimes it really SUCKS. I know being a stepparent isn't easy but neither is being a step-kid. OP it sounds to me like you are doing a good job and your SD is having a little trouble adjusting (that and she is 11). Some things you should ignore (like the shower curtain, I have to close ours all the time but it takes like 2 seconds) with the cloths let her fold them herself and with stuff like the kitchen a good response might be "Well how about you pick a spot for X and then you will always know where to find it" as for the soup you can either ignore it or offer "would you like to help me make it next time? Then it will be just the way you like it" or question directly (without hostility) "Oh, what is it that you like better about the canned soup?"

If this is the worst she is dishing out you could also go with the "convenient deafness". Whatever you do DON'T take the bait!
DSD is generally a very kind, helpful kid and I know that when she acts out, it's not with mean intentions, it's only because she's having a difficult time channeling her emotions.

She's the oldest of four and having been the oldest of 5 in a blended family myself, I know that because of where she falls in the mix, she often gets the short end of the stick. I know it's critical to her happiness to feel like she's useful and that her opinions are respected (which they are).

Earthmama, your suggestions are very practical and kind - thank you. I think this is just what DSD and I need to get back on the right track. I know I need to not take the bait, but she also needs to know that her passive-aggressive behavior isn't acceptable.
post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer View Post
I hear and agree with everything you're saying. And of course it makes sense that DSD is feeling a bit invaded and displaced and I certainly don't want to do anything to make that worse (I want to make it better!). I love both of my step-children very much and always have their best interests at heart.

BUT, since this is a safe space, if I may regress into a little bit of selfishness for a minute...

I moved into a house that was totally decorated and furnished by another woman. My children and I have lived there for a year and it still doesn't feel like my home. Even my kids have said, from time-to-time that they feel like they're still "just visiting." They don't feel like they have the right to "get comfortable" there. I know it sounds harsh and unfeeling, but I'm frustrated that I can't make any changes without causing this huge disruption for my step-kids. Not only can I not afford to buy new living room furniture (let alone a brand new house), but if all of a sudden the couch that their mother picked out vanished, my DSC would be devestated. It's like the house is a shrine to a family that no longer exists and even though it's MY house now (I'm on the deed, I pay the mortgage), I have absolutely no latitude to do with it what I wish. I'm not allowed to make it my own. And frankly, I don't really want to have a heart-to-heart with my DSD everytime I need to move a pot or measuring cup to a new cabinet. My heart just SUNK when I read that you were so angry over new curtains and a slipcover (which don't seem like huge changes to me). Do I really risk my step-children hating me if I dare to change something their mother did? The thought of that is paralyzing! When am I going to be allowed to

I am an EXTREMELY conscientious mother/step-mother. I'm very careful to involve the kids in every decision/conversation where their input is appropriate. I'm very conscious of their feelings around the whole blended-family thing. I'm extraordinarily respectful of their feelings and opinions and anger. The kids are always, always, always put first.

That said, at what point do my feelings get to matter again? I'm sick to death of the daily reminders (couch, coffee table, art, photos, rugs, bookcases, etc) that my DH used to live here with his XW. At what point do my opinions about things are in MY OWN HOUSE get to matter again? At what point to I get to say, "Honey, I know it must be very hard for you to have things change around the house, but it's time for the house to reflect the people who live here now?" Their mother is not dead. They see her regularly. It's not like they need the couch she picked out to be in MY living room to continue to feel connected to her.

Okay, that was some serious vent. Thanks for letting me get that out. Sometimes the whole mother-sacrifice thing gets to be a bit much to keep inside.

Oh, thanks for sharing that! I think its interesting and see, this is bigger than just folding shirts or chicken soup, now you've got to the core issue of having the combined home be for ALL the family.

I remember my DH having some of his old girlfriend's things and I completely was obsessed over getting rid of some of them. Some other things, it took me years, but I *claimed* them. They are not hers, they are not his, they are mine and I can enjoy them and we have been together long enough that they are mine and I don't think about the old life they lived, because I'm living in the present, not the past.

How about coming up with a game plan for what things you might like to change, things that are realistic and affordable, etc. and then first talk to your DP about it?

I agree it's not fair to you that you feel like you can't change anything... change happens. But, knowing that change can stress out your pre-teen SD, you and your DH may need to prepare SD and help her through it a little. Like, give her some advance notice a couple weeks beforehand, and maybe talk to her about anything that's particularly special to her and respect those things, but let her know that other things may get adjusted just because we want to try things out.

Another thing that would be good for DH to talk to your SD about is that change is OK (and this is a very important life lesson -- adaptability -- people deal with this in the workforce all the time.) And that things can get moved, etc. etc. but the important things and people in her life are still there for her. He's there for her. Her mom is there for her, etc. etc. Maybe she has other things that she's struggling with and some of the objects are symbolic for her too. How are things with her mom?

I always have a hard time with change, even when I'm the person that makes it sometimes! I'll buy something new and then really stress over whether I hate the new thing or if it's OK. Then I settle down after a few weeks. I am much better now but still once in a while I get fixated on details, and that's part of my personality.

I now kind of enjoy re-arranging our furniture now and then when we clean and for different seasons, etc. etc. Maybe you can enlist SD's help and comments etc. etc.

It sounds like you are sensitive to her feelings, etc. I think you should work on this and try out some things and gradually work toward more balance in this because you sound like you really need this. And yes, your needs are important too. It may take a little extra work and adjustment and patience, al that. But you can do it.

You also may come up with a plan for what you might add to the house rather than what you will take away -- if it's all taking away her mom's stuff that could get emotional, so maybe it's easier things like re-arranging to start with. The kitchen seems like an easy place you can and should claim, especially if you do most of the cooking. I don't see any reason why you can't take it over and let her adapt. But be kind when she asks where things are and while she is adjusting because it will be hard for her. But she will survive. Then I'd just be thoughtful about your approach to the other areas of the house and be sure to leave some things so it's not like everything she knew is gone.

The thing about the kitchen is it's easy to change a few things back if she really loved having the cereal in a certain spot, or you know, whatever and you guys can compromise pretty easily, it's not like throwing out the sofa or painting the living room purple.
post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer View Post
I always close the shower curtain when I see it open. Just so that it doesn't stay wet all day and get moldy. She got in the shower last night and grumbled - loud enough for us to hear downstairs - "UGH! I can't stand it when the shower curtain is closed!"
I completely agree with you on opening the shower curtain to dry. And her personal preference is to have it open (another poster mentioned fears of what is behind the curtain - maybe her little brother or a friend once jumped out at her from behind a curtain?) So could you close it when you go to bed (after her shower) and open it when you get up in the morning? That way both of you are happy. It seems like a pretty small thing to do for family harmony.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer
I had to rearrange the kitchen a bit to fit all of my stuff in there. 2 days ago DSD is looking for a snack and says, "Nobody wants me to find anything in this kitchen! Everything is hidden from me now! I lived here for 5 years and everything was always in the same place and now everything is moved around!"
How about one day your dp takes the other three kids out to the park so you and dsd can do a whole kitchen remodel. Take everything out, wipe down the cabinets, let her be a part of where things go. Put on music; make it fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer
"I guess I really just don't like homemade soup. It's not as good as what's in the cans."
That is her opinion. I'd completely ignore the comment. Her preferring canned soup is something I'd think is pretty common for kids; it isn't anything about you necessarily. I'd also - without mentioning the chicken soup hurt feelings - invite her to make dinner with you sometime. Again, could be a fun and bonding experience, and cut down on the mealtime comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer
DSD walks though, sneers, rolls her eyes, proceeds to UNFOLD all of her clothes and refold them, saying, "I HATE it when there's a crease in the middle of my t-shirts!"
Honestly, I really hate it when there is a crease in the middle of my t-shirts too, and would and do refold if dp does them that way. I've explained to him that I hate it, but we each fold how we fold. So I roll my eyes and refold my shirts. I'm 39. It really isn't a jab at him; I honestly hate the way he folds t-shirts! In your case, when there is laundry to be folded, you could ask her if she'd like to help you, or just hang her t-shirts over a chair for her to hang or fold as she'd like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer
What do I say to her, if anything? DH seems fairly oblivious at this point; should I say something to him? Truth be told, it hurts my feelings, but I don't want to make a mountain out of a mole-hill.

Is it just because she's 11 and I'm an easy target?
I wouldn't say much of anything - other than a friendly offer to join in with you during laundry or cooking. Not snarky "If you don't like the way I do it, you can do it" but sometime when she ISN'T complaining, offering the idea of doing something together.

I wouldn't talk to your dp. I don't think he is involved in these specific issues at all, and you will lose respect with your dsd if you call him in to be the middle man in these little types of things especially. Please just find a way to not take it personally. It isn't about you; I really believe that. My 12 year old dd1 is my bio child, and could make similar comments. That is what pre-teens do.

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Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
Just a note...my mother may have helped ME with stuff for the house but I considered it MY house and when my SM came in and remade things in her taste my mother wasn't the one I was concerned about I was the one who felt disrespected and pushed aside. My father took her side for the next 6 years and now I have not seen him in 11.
I think this is really worth rereading. Are differences in preference on how shirts are folded or what kind of soup you eat worth risking her longterm relationship between a girl and her dad?

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Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
Part of it's that to your DSC, there's no reason why it shouldn't be a shrine and an important part of how they hold their world together -- that bit of constancy in their home. Yes, they see their mother. They've still lost their "real" family, and they were old enough at the time to remember how things were before. A year is not that long when you're a kid losing your family. I don't think it's realistic to expect them to just adjust to "the family that's there now".

So where do you come in? Do you have a room in the house? Is anything there yours? If not, why not?
Good points. I think it is pretty easy to see why they'd want things the same AND why it isn't logically possible for them to be in this situation. It is going to be about compromise - and as an adult who CHOSE to sign up for a blended family, I think it is up to you and dp to make more than 50% of that compromise and let the kids (yours and his) make less of the compromise as it wasn't their choice to be in a blended situation.

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Originally Posted by anitaj71 View Post
I know not everyone can do this but we moved into a new house when we combined households. It was hard on everyone but we felt we had to have a new, nuetral space to start out in.
I think this is a great idea when possible.
post #37 of 62
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Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post
How about one day your dp takes the other three kids out to the park so you and dsd can do a whole kitchen remodel. Take everything out, wipe down the cabinets, let her be a part of where things go. Put on music; make it fun.

I'm not really understanding why OP should have to bend over backwards to appease the child with the set up of the kitchen... what about all the other people that live in that house?

What if her spending special attention to DSD's "need" to have the kitchen a certain way, then causes the other children resentment that their needs to make part of the house feel like their's is being swept under the rug?

I don't think paying special mind to one child in the house is the way to go on this.. it should be an equal house all around.

SD is 11... I doubt she does much cooking in the kitchen... the kitchen should really be set up to the person's needs that does the most in there, typically Mom.
post #38 of 62
I wanted to add what whenever you change things, you should expect to hear comments about her not liking it as part of what happens when things change -- it's going to be normal for her not to like change, and I think it's OK for her to express her feelings, but..... that's not the end of the world. You're trying new things and that's OK. She'll adapt. I'd try to not take those comments personally and just understand she has a hard time adjusting and give it a few weeks.

I'd spread out your changes, etc. You know, don't do the whole house at once, and sometimes you can do things like, rearrange the furniture and then you can say, we'll try this for a while, and then in 6 months or a year or whatever, change it again, and just try different things and then it's not like there's only the old and the new, but multiple variations. Maybe you can go back to the original layout after a while and after you've felt like you've gotten what you need to feel like it's your space.

Good luck!!!
post #39 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
SD is 11... I doubt she does much cooking in the kitchen... the kitchen should really be set up to the person's needs that does the most in there, typically Mom.
Both of my kids have been cooking since about 10. Unsupervised by 12. So yeah, the kitchen is set up so it's convenient for all three of us.

But really, this child should not get to have any input into her father's home. None. She apparently visits there, so she should put up and shut up. ( /sarcasm ) That is, frankly, how a lot of the responses would make my kids feel. No one should be surprised if she doesn't like being there if that's the attitude.
post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post

How about one day your dp takes the other three kids out to the park so you and dsd can do a whole kitchen remodel. Take everything out, wipe down the cabinets, let her be a part of where things go. Put on music; make it fun.
This doesn't sound like fun at all to me, it sounds like a chore! I think mom should do it the way she wants but be willing to tweak it a little if DSD has apecific, doable requests.
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